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On MLK, justice and clean energy

• Jan 21, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Last Tuesday marked the 90th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth. Today (Jan. 21) is the federal holiday celebrating it.

“Over the intervening decades, America has made real progress toward greater justice,” a congressman and a pastor jointly said in a recent post for The Hill’s blog. “But as Dr. King said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ And now is the moment to rededicate ourselves to justice when it comes to one of the most urgent civil rights issues of our time: climate change.”

U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Virginia) and the Rev. Leo Woodberry said that, in the spirit of the MLK birthday celebration, they would be joining members of the Justice First movement “to advocate for environmental justice, 100 percent clean energy and forest protection across the South.”

Southerners — including those living in some of the nation’s most disadvantaged communities of color — are suffering on the front lines of America’s climate crisis, McEachin and Woodberry said. “In cities, children are finding it harder to breathe as temperatures rise and air quality suffers. In rural areas, families that depend on agriculture and forestry are suffering as trees die and crops fail because of heat stress, extreme weather, and increased prevalence of pests.

“We are gratified to hear so many members of the 116th Congress advocate for bold action on climate change. But make no mistake: the time for talk is over. The time for action is now. We must transition to a sustainable, clean energy economy for all,” The Hill blog contributors wrote.

“We know what we need to do: We must wean ourselves from fossil fuels and protect natural areas like forests that absorb carbon dioxide. We can do this in a way that makes life better for all Americans, regardless of race, income or ZIP code. By moving to 100 percent clean energy and putting justice first, we can limit global warming while creating green-collar jobs in every community, and building a healthier, more sustainable, more equitable society. And we can do so in a way that leaves no one behind — in a way that helps people who worked in the oil, coal and gas industries to find good jobs in the fast-growing clean energy sector.”

Read the complete blog post: “On Martin Luther King’s 90th birthday, a renewed commitment to climate justice.”

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